My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, November 20

Progression or Regression?

It seems so long ago (It WAS so long ago) and when I look at some of the photos I took when I was in Korea, I can hardly believe that the place I was sent to in 1952 looks as backward as these photos show it to have been. And today, I see a Korea that’s one of the most prosperous, modern nations in the world. That village is right out of the Middle Ages, primitive grass shacks housing primitive farmers and their families.
When I was there, the hills were bombed-out desolation and the rice paddies in the valleys stank of the fertilizing human excrement collected in honey buckets. The ridges across the way were honeycombed with tunnels for the Chinese and North Korean soldiers, and our shelling didn’t seem to have any effect on them. That was sixty-four years ago, a lifetime ago. Oh, how Korea has changed; oh, how the world has changed. I guess I have to include myself in that mix—oh, how I’ve changed. I’d like to think I’m much smarter now, but that’s probably not true.

What else in my lifetime has changed? Most obviously, the technological advances we’ve made. In my youth, we had tiny black and white tv sets in front of which the family hovered to watch grainy transmissions of shows like Sid Caesar, Red Skelton, and Steve Allen on the original Tonight Show. And look what we have today: huge screens in crystal clarity and hundreds, no, thousands, of shows and movies from which we can choose. Then, we had dial phones hanging on a wall near the kitchen, with three-digit phone numbers, often shared with several neighbors on a “party line.” Alexander Graham Bell couldn’t possibly have seen where his invention was going, with tiny computer-phones now in almost every pocket, with nearly everyone spending hours and hours texting or speaking to friends and relatives. How far we’ve come. Or have we really regressed? We see technological advances that boggle the mind: automobiles with stick shifts to luxurious computerized autos that can drive themselves; typewriters to word-processors; hard copy books to e-books; black and white photography to colorful digitized selfies; computers with storage capacities of 48 megabytes to these things we now have that can store almost the entire Library of Congress or more movies than we’d be able to watch in a lifetime; music once stored on cylinders and played back on gramophones, then tapes and vinyl grooved disks played at speeds of 78, then 45, then 33⅓ rpm’s and up to what we have today with MP3 recordings stored on compact disks; surgical procedures that transfer the scalpel from the surgeon to a computerized arm. Social changes? In the old old days, most people didn’t bother to lock their homes day or night or lock their cars or remove their car keys when they parked. Most people married for life. Now most couples either don’t get married at all or get divorced once or twice or more often. Then there were laws prohibiting mixed marriages. Now, such unions are common, with offspring that hasten the “Browning of America.” Now we have a much greater understanding of sexual orientation, with same-sex marriages now legally accepted. With Facebook and Twitter and other social networks, relationships are now more pervasive although not necessarily stronger. Government keeps getting bigger and bigger with ever more steps toward the Big Brother George Orwell warned us about, with cameras everywhere keeping track of our every move, with hackers on the internet invading our privacy and scamming us out of billions, with governmental agencies listening to and recording our phone calls. The only ones with tattoos back then were sailors with a modest heart or anchor on an upper arm. Now, ink is everywhere on body parts the old sailors would have been embarrassed to consider. Then most of us weren’t overweight, but now obesity is rampant. Our lifespans now are much longer than back then. We now drink more and take more drugs (both prescriptive and illegal) than ever before, but cigarettes are passé and electronic smoking devices are in. Marijuana was then illegal and is now legal in many states and soon will probably be nationwide. We’re seeing the near end of newspapers, magazines, and books in favor of those same things now available digitally. With Wikipedia and computer search engines, we now have at our fingertips the entire body of man’s knowledge. We now own more guns than ever before. We now view the world as a dangerous place. We now are more aware of and fearful of what terrorists can do to us. Have we progressed or regressed? It all depends on whether you’re a glass half-full or a glass half-empty guy. I’m happy to say that I’m a glass half-full. I’ve seen more changes in my lifetime, both good and bad, than I could possibly have imagined back when I was a young, innocent, ignorant boy in the bombed-out hills of South Korea.
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